The title makes it seem like I am still in the United States.
Yesterday, a group of us decided to go shopping and took the metro to Chunxi road (春熙路）。The road was packed with people. It was like shopping right before Christmas time. Rather than having closed off stores, the stores mostly did not have doors, and you could just walk in. There were people with microphones trying to get you to come into the store, and noise makers and loud music. Everything was about the same price as the clothes in the United States, but there were much better sales. I managed to get a skirt for only 49 yuan or about $7.50 USD. The major difference in clothes was the sizing. I am an average US size, since I am 5’7″ and usually get smalls/mediums in the states. I kind of felt like a giant. I was an extra large in Chinese sizes. Also, many of the stores had “free size” shirts, like the “one size fits all” in the United States. This did not include me. Then the largest size shoe was a US 8, which is usually a squeeze for me. But it was so fun to shop and look around. The shops ranged from very cheap: you could get a shirt for $4.50 USD, all the way to extremely expensive brands: Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Prada (!).
Today we had orientation for our classes. Afterwards, some of us wanted to try the McDonalds, since we had heard it is so much better than in the United States. I ordered the chicken and rice bowl since I wanted to have something I could never have in America. It was not great but I actually felt pretty full afterwards which has never happened at U.S. McDonald’s. When we left the McDonald’s we found an ice cream stand. There were six different flavors, and I got mango (of course) and it was served in a pot. Then, the man put chocolate dust, which looked like dirt on top of the ice cream. Then, he put stones on top which tasted like m&m’s. Lastly, he put a sprig of mint which looked like the plant. It was so cute, and it was delicious.
I had the afternoon free, so I decided to try to swim. I had been dreading being here for six weeks without swimming, but my friend found a pool yesterday. When I went in, the people working there did not really know much English and my Chinese is very weak, so it was somewhat difficult
to talk to one another. I do know how to ask how much? (多少钱？）It cost 50 yuan to go, but I did not have the confidence to figure out if they had a deal for a membership. I was so excited, the pool was 25 meters and eight lanes. I felt like I had found a new home within Chengdu. Being in my comfort zone helped me to try to talk to the people who approached me while swimming. I ended up (trying) to talk to three different people. One girl even asked me to help her learn English and said she would help me with Chinese. We have been talking on WeChat to arrange to meet. Hopefully this will be helpful experience in teaching non-English speakers, since I want to teach ESOL classes in the future, as well as a way to gain a new friend.
The sun finally shown for the first time today and I felt like I was making headway for the first time during this trip. It was a really good day.